Whatever happened to the Trust’s “planned Headland Park Visitor’s Centre” ?

Whatever happened to the Trust’s “planned Headland Park Visitor’s Centre” ?

In amongst a myriad of Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (the Trust) publications there are about four PDFs that make up the Middle Head Management Plan (see below for a link to the Trust website). In the plan it states clearly that the Trust’s vision was that they would engage visitors and enrich their experience of the Middle Head precinct with a “planned Headland Park Visitor’s Centre”.

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You may not have had time to read the Plan so here is a summary of key points as they relate to the 10 Terminal site.

10 Terminal, built in 1942 for the Anti-Aircraft and Fortress Engineering School, is a series of single storey buildings loosely clustered around a central courtyard. According to the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (the Trust) this complex of buildings forms an important part of a distinct precinct.

10 Terminal has high heritage value. It is listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List and the Register of the National Estate, located right alongside (only metres away) the historic ASOPA buildings.

The Trust’s Middle Head Management Plan states that the “Middle Head precinct is recognised as being of great heritage significance.” The precinct, which includes 10 Terminal, derives its significance from its “continuous occupation of the military from the 1870s through to 1997.”

In 2006 the Trust commissioned Robertson Hindmarsh Pty Ltd to prepare a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the Middle Head precinct. The draft CMP states that the “study site is significant as an important element in the entire former military reserve and defence lands at Middle Head…”

The Trust’s Middle Head Management Plan was published in 2007, the aims and objectives were to:

  • Conserve and interpret the Commonwealth Heritage values of Middle Head;
  • Maximise public access;
  • Facilitate the adaptive re-use of the precinct’s buildings for appropriate uses; and
  • Integrate the precinct with adjoining lands as part of a unified Headland Park and network of open space.

10 Terminal meets heritage criteria as specified in the EPBC Regulations, 2000, including the fact that the site is:

  • Significant as an important element in the entire former military reserve and defence lands at Middle Head, Georges Heights and Chowder Bay;
  • A rare surviving complex and probably the only permanent school of engineering erected in New South Wales during WW II;

The Trust’s primary objectives for 10 Terminal include:

  • Adaptively re-use the buildings in a manner that retains and conveys their heritage values and contributes positively to the experience of visitors to the Headland Park;
  • Find uses for the buildings that help their conservation and that are sympathetic to their simple, institutional form and the need to open up the site to the public; and
  • Protect and expand the bushland areas around the periphery.

The SHFT proposed that 10 Terminal buildings would:
“be conserved and adaptively reused in a manner that facilitates the conservation and interpretation of the heritage values and that enhances the visitor experience of the park, for example: visitor accommodation, dining, functions, offices, studios, education or similar. The adaptive reuse of the site must ensure ongoing public access and enhance the visitor experience to the headland.”

In 2007 the Trust’s vision was that they would engage visitors and enrich their experience of the Middle Head with a “planned Headland Park Visitor’s Centre” that would incorporate interpretive materials relating to Middle Head in the context of providing an overview of the entire Headland Park.

NOTE: The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Middle Head Management Plan is available as a series of PDFs from the Trust’s website. Go to: http://www.harbourtrust.gov.au/planning-projects/strategic-plans#Management_Plans then scroll down until you find the Middle Head documents.

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